On Wednesday night at around 9:30 p.m., a 45-year-old man was in the soccer field in Tamra, an Arab city in the lower Galilee, when he was shot by an armed gunman. He sustained serious injuries having been shot five times; four times in the leg and once on his arm. Emergency services were called, and the closest first responders were notified.
United Hatzalah volunteer EMT Odai Hijazi, who lives nearby, was one of the first responders who received the notification and wasted no time in responding. “When someone is shot, immediate medical treatment is crucial for the victim’s life,” Odai said after the incident. Odai left his house and drove his car as quickly as he could through the familiar streets of the neighborhood until he reached the soccer field.
As Odai was getting the medical kit out of his trunk, a local intensive care ambulance pulled alongside him and the EMT breathed a sigh of relief. Together they provide the patient with the lifesaving treatment that he would need and immediately transport him to the hospital.
Police officers, who have since caught the perpetrator, also arrived at the scene and recorded the information as the EMTs and paramedics went to work treating the patient. “We didn’t spend a lot of time at the scene because our main goal was to evacuate the patient as soon as possible so that he could receive the proper care in a hospital.” Odai said, “We bandaged his wounds, stopping the bleeding, and then put him on a stretcher. The paramedic administered strong painkillers and other medications and we rushed him into the ambulance. He was brought straight to the Rambam Hospital wasting as little time as possible. In some cases, we can take a bit of time in the field to treat the patient, but in others, we need to scoop them up and run. This was one of those cases.”
Odai reflected on the incident and said, “Sadly, this is not the first time that I have seen a case of a violent shooting like this. Unfortunately, they happen a lot in the city and have become almost normalized in our society, which in and of itself is a terrible tragedy. Every time I see someone get injured in a shooting, I regret the state of the world that we live in, and I feel bad that this keeps happening to people. Like the other first responders, I do my best to treat their injuries, but something needs to change.”
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